AT LARGE: Texting, Seat Belt Laws Serve a Good Purpose
I will be the first to admit that I do not follow the letter of the law when it comes to all our multitudinous traffic rules and regulations. But after the experience of the past few days, I know two laws regulating the way we drive that I pledge to faithfully obey from now on.
Seeing a friend lose parts of three fingers and having your own car totaled in a horrific end-over-end tumble down the interstate does tend to concentrate the mind and bring facets of our laws into much greater focus than a 30-second public safety ad on television ever could.
The wreck on Interstate 65 was around noon a week ago yesterday and was touched off by -- you guessed it -- a woman texting on her cellphone. According to my friend, who had borrowed my car to run some errands in anticipation of a fishing trip to North Alabama, she was driving at or below the speed limit on the interstate south of downtown Birmingham when a red Honda Civic suddenly appeared dead ahead in the left, "fast" lane.
The Honda's brake lights were on and it looked, according to my friend, as if the car was about to come to a dead stop in the moderate weekend traffic. She said she could see that the woman behind the wheel was devoting all her concentration to the smartphone in her hand as she typed her all-
important message into the device.
My friend swerved to the left to avoid the Honda, a move that put her into the concrete barrier between lanes.
She then lost control of my car, which rolled over, according to a witness who called me from the scene, at least two or three times and across two lanes of traffic before coming to rest upside down in the grass beside the highway.
It was something of a miracle that no one else was involved in the wreck, but anything but divine intervention that the impact of car on concrete popped out the driver's side window through which her left hand was exposed. …